Anger Vs Aggression
A common misconception is that anger and aggression are one and the same. This is simply not true and it’s important to me that we differentiate because I believe this misconception is at least in part responsible for of stigmatisation anger.
Anger is an emotion that we should not be berated for feeling. Aggression is a behaviour that is harmful to others (for the purpose of keeping this post concise I’m going to side-step the fact that aggression can be constructive in particular situations such as certain sports for example). The difference between them is rather like the difference between the urge for revenge and actually acting upon that urge and taking vengeance, which is something I touched upon briefly in a previous post. True, anger often leads to aggressive behaviour but it is entirely possible for anger to exist without aggression
I am a very very angry person, but I am not what you’d call an aggressive person generally though I am of course prone to moments of aggresion when pressed as are all but the very most self controlled of us. This is normal, though not wise as acting aggressively has pretty much always results some sort of damage.
When I acted out at peak distress, I was aggresive in a number of ways. However as stated in my previous post it was for want of any other healthy outlet. The level of energy required to hold anger inside is monumental. It will come out in one form or another eventually. If there is a lack of constructive outlets available aggressive behaviour is highly likely to occur.
Aggression may have presented itself under exceptional circumstances but aggression is not a dominant personality trait within me. Anger however is an all but constant presence. It’s leached off me so much it’s practically become me. Still, I am not hostile. I do not bully or control or intimidate and I do not seek to harm others which are the defining characteristics of aggressive behaviour. Indeed, I am (generally) the very polar opposite of these traits! Despite what depression might like to tell me, I know myself to be a kind, sensitive and fundamentally good person.
Anger and aggression may well have strong links, but they are separate entities with distinct and significant differences. One is wholly acceptable, the other sometimes understandable but not acceptable (when channelled poorly)
It’s time people begin to recognise that